Email overload is the catch-22 of the modern workday: You’re using a communication tool that’s supposed to make your job easier, yet you find yourself completely overwhelmed with messages. Not only is it annoying—and anxiety-inducing—to see your inbox sprawl from page 1 to page 2, 3, or 4, this level of email overload is likely killing your productivity.
How can you tell if email overload is hurting your productivity? Look out for these five signs:
1. Your to-do list only gets longer.
Have you ever worked a busy eight hours only to realize not a single item was crossed off your to-do list that day? Where did the time go, and why did it feel so overwhelmingly busy?
When you consider that the average U.S. worker spends roughly 25 percent of their day managing email, it’s no wonder that your to-do list only gets longer. Receiving a flood of emails every day can easily derail even the most focused employee. In fact, some studies have found that reading and addressing a single email can require up to 20 minutes—time that could be spent on the other tasks at hand.
Considering all the emails you receive in a given day—ranging from those that are relevant to mass emails and spam—it’s no wonder it’s difficult to stay focused on your to-do list.
2. You often feel distracted and overwhelmed.
Multitasking is great in theory, but for most employees in the digital age, focusing on one task at a time is actually more effective. That’s because productivity and efficiency are optimized when your mind is allowed to concentrate fully on a single activity. On the other hand, trying to multitask, for example, by keeping an eye on your overloaded inbox all day, can become seriously distracting.
During a 2012 study, employees at two high-tech firms were asked to note how often they were interrupted and how it affected their work. The study found that after being distracted from the task at hand, it would take each employee an average of 16 minutes to get back on track. And sometimes they completely forgot what they were working on–proof that too much distraction can tank your productivity.
3. You’re considering taking “email-free days.”
In an effort to cut down on the distractions of email overload, many companies have begun instituting “email-free days,” where employees are asked to avoid checking or sending email. And maybe that sounds pretty liberating right now.
But ignoring your email for a full 24 hours can actually be counter-productive, because you’ll be busier than ever once you log in again. Instead, a better option is to incorporate tools that make email smarter by focusing on quality and doing away with the quantity.
4. The emails don’t stop after 5 p.m.
When you still get barraged by emails after the workday is done, your productivity the following day can actually take another hit. Plenty of research has shown that downtime is absolutely critical for employees to maintain a high level of productivity. And if you’re hearing your email ding continually during the evening hours, you could be setting yourself up for a low-energy morning.
5. You’re starting to resent your coworkers.
This is one of the dangers of email overload: You start resenting many of the names in your inbox. It’s easy to feel as though they are the cause of your current anxiety and loss of productivity. But in reality they’re just like you: simply trying to keep up with it all.
So, why is email overload killing your productivity? Because your email security isn’t smart enough to filter out all the unwanted, unneeded messages, and you’re spinning your wheels trying to sort through them yourself.
Sendio’s Opt-Inbox™ works with your existing email security and effectively filters your emails, making sure you only receive the messages that you want. Your email load is significantly reduced, you can turn your focus to the truly relevant message and your productivity is optimized.
Get back to your to-do list and feel productive again. Add Opt-Inbox™ to your company’s email filtering to free up your organization. Click here to get started.